Saturday 18th August 2018

Home » Featured Today » Currently Reading:

Neither Left Nor Right, But Catholic… Questions In The Aftermath Of The Las Vegas Tragedy

November 20, 2017 Featured Today No Comments

By STEPHEN M. KRASON

(Editor’s Note: Stephen M. Krason’s Neither Left nor Right, but Catholic column appears monthly [sometimes bimonthly]. He is professor of political science and legal studies and associate director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is also co-founder and president of the Society of Catholic Social Scientists. Among his books are: Abortion: Politics, Morality, and the Constitution; The Transformation of the American Democratic Republic, and most recently Catholicism and American Political Ideologies. This column originally appeared in Crisismagazine.com. All rights reserved.)

+ + +

While there is not so much mention of it in the media anymore, the American public is still reeling from the inexplicable massacre in Las Vegas, the largest mass murder in history in a country where mass murders of innocent people have become almost a regular occurrence. Some of the usual responses came from the usual quarters.
The left called for more gun control, even though in a moment of frankness increasingly uncommon for prominent left-of-center public figures Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California admitted that more gun control would not have stopped what happened. The response of prominent public spokesmen on the right was mostly not to try to explain how an event such as this could have happened, but just to counter the left’s gun control drumbeat.
The “era of mass murder” in the U.S. seems to have begun in 1966 with the University of Texas Clock Tower shootings. That was also the year marking beginning of the ongoing cultural turmoil that has turned America upside down. Nineteen sixty-five was the transitional year, marking a new sad era in the country’s history as things became progressively more morally unhinged.
While I have not studied the terrible phenomenon of mass shootings and their perpetrators, the connection between the moral and cultural odyssey of America and the mass gunning down of the innocent seems unmistakable to me.
What has characterized American life since 1965? We can start with the tearing apart of the American family. Indeed, when one looks at the Clock Tower and Las Vegas gunmen fifty years apart what is readily noticed is that both had wretched fathers — the father of the first had a history of physically abusing his wife, the gunman’s mother, and the other’s was a bank robber on the FBI’s “Most Wanted” list. I suspect that a detailed study of the killers in the mass murder era would show some kind of a troubled family background for most if not all of them.
This is a time when divorce could be resorted to with increasing ease and became hardly controversial or discouraged. It’s a time when illegitimacy has skyrocketed and outright fatherlessness abounds, especially among some demographic groups and in certain areas (such as big cities), with the result that many young men even if they are not mass murderers have become all other kinds of criminals.
The time since 1965 has also been one of rampant secularization in America. To be sure, this didn’t happen suddenly or without a progressive development in that direction, but the turning away from religion both personally and on a culture-wide level has been sweeping since then.
Where people have not exactly become unbelievers or shapers of their own novel versions of “spirituality,” they now decide what religious teachings they want to believe. They have made themselves the arbiters of religious truth, often urged along to be sure by various clergy and leaders of what not too long before had been traditional Christian churches.
I strongly suspect that if one were to study these American mass murderers he would find that none were devout, regular practitioners of traditional Christianity or Judaism. Indeed, he would likely find that they in general had had weak or inadequate religious upbringings.
Along with the turning away from religion and traditional religious beliefs during this period was the deep engraining of the attitude that man is his own moral arbiter; that he was free to choose what moral principles he was going to follow. Instead of religion and traditional moral thinking — forged especially by solid family and religious upbringing — being his reference point it was now the strong winds of a deepening secular culture that blew him along.
The basis of this, of course, was the moral relativism spawned initially by the intelligentsia that came to take hold in varying degrees of mainstream American thinking down the line. The result of all this was a grossly insufficient personal moral formation for an increasing number of people that, as the classical Greek philosophers would have put it, led to their souls being out of order. This certainly didn’t lead the typical person to become a mass murderer, but it seems likely that, given a particular set of circumstances and conditions, it helped cause a few to.
A typical response to a mass murder episode is that the person who committed such an action is mentally ill. That may indeed be so, although we can’t say for sure that was the case with most of them. As far as mental illness goes, however, while its causes may often be uncertain, one’s life circumstances can give rise to it or stimulate a tendency that was there.
In other words, it seems likely that upbringing, family situation, and cultural conditions can have an effect, in at least some cases, on the manifestation of mental illness. Then, one also wonders if the pervasiveness of illicit drug use after 1965 has not also meant more mental problems and illness.
In speaking about cultural conditions and attitudes, it’s worth noting that the period since 1966 in America and the Western world generally has been one which has witnessed a striking undermining of the ethic of the sanctity of life. It has been the era of abortion, and now it may become the era of euthanasia, physician-assisted suicide, infanticide of handicapped newborns and the like. It is hard not to wonder if in the face of such an attitude an already twisted mind might be emboldened to commit unspeakable crimes.
Is it possible even that the heightened confusion sewn by some as to whether there is even a difference between men and beasts — that animals have the same, or even more, dignity and worth as men — could further contribute to the twisted mind’s devaluing human life enough to wantonly stamp it out like insects?
The period since 1966 has been one marked by increasing violence in American life, at different levels and with many manifestations. To be sure, this has reflected and followed from many developments in American life and culture — those mentioned here and others. It has been a time when crime in general has seemed to spin out of control. Can it be surprising that in such a context we might witness some people indiscriminately and with no provocation killing other people, even many people at once?
There may legitimately be some issues to discuss about gun control in the wake of the Las Vegas tragedy — for example, about whether certain types of firearms or accessories should be readily available on the market. While the left has been so busy creating a whole slew of ersatz rights — especially related to sex — and essentially ignoring the Second Amendment, we have to concede that gun rights like all other rights are not absolute.

The Regime Of
Moral Relativism

Still, what I have suggested here is that there are more fundamental questions to focus on after Las Vegas, such as: What has to be done to restore the American family? Shouldn’t we consider about whether divorce should be so readily available and, indeed get our heads screwed on correctly about what marriage is? Has the sexual revolution, which has been a main cause of family breakdown, been a good idea?
Indeed, isn’t it time to question the regime of moral relativism? Should our culture consider the implications of the loss of the sanctity of life ethic?
Hasn’t the loss of our nation’s traditional religious character helped lead to our present troubles? It’s long overdue, to put it mildly, that we put aside ideological imperatives and the usual ensuing narratives — a particular problem for the left — and start to focus reflection and discussion by public intellectuals, commentators, and the general public on such basic questions.

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Cardinal says clock ticking for all in Catholic hierarchy over abuse issue

The chair of the Vatican’s Commission for the Protection of Minors has warned that “the clock is ticking” for the Catholic hierarchy when it comes to dealing with clerical child sex abuse. “Catholics have lost patience with us, and civil…Continue Reading

Priests: Why we’re urging Cardinals to challenge Pope Francis on death penalty

ROME, August 15, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Over 75 clergy, lay scholars and prominent intellectuals today took the unprecedented step of issuing an open appeal to the Cardinals of the Catholic Church, to urge Pope Francis to “withdraw” his new teaching on…Continue Reading

Rector Placed On Leave Amid Allegations Of Sexual Misconduct Against Boston Catholic Seminary

Following allegations of a culture of sexual misconduct and alcohol abuse at a Boston-based Catholic seminary owned by the Archdiocese of Boston, the head priest is being placed on sabbatical. Rector James P. Moroney has been placed on immediate leave pending…Continue Reading

Pennsylvania clergy sex abuse report still not released

A last-minute round of legal manoeuvring to keep some names from appearing in a grand jury report detailing a months-long investigation of clergy sex abuse claims in Pennsylvania may have kept the document from being made public on Wednesday –…Continue Reading

Vatican archbishop: Critics of Pope Francis are not faithful to Tradition

VATICAN CITY, August 7, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Those who criticize the teaching of Pope Francis on the basis of former magisterial documents are not faithful to the tradition of the Catholic Church, a high-ranking Vatican official has said. In an interview with Vatican…Continue Reading

PRO-LIFE ACTRESS SLAMS BISHOPS’ INACTION ON PRIEST SEX ABUSE CRISIS

DETROIT (ChurchMilitant.com) – A pro-life Hollywood actress is slamming the U.S. bishops for their failure to prevent priest sex abuse. Actress Patricia Heaton is openly pro-life and a Catholic revert. On Twitter on Aug. 2, she responded to Cdl. Daniel DiNardo’s…Continue Reading

Conservatives skeptical of Twitter’s latest shadow-banning denial

July 27, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Twitter has released an official response to the latest round of shadow-banning allegations, but the statement has failed to impress conservative, Christian, and pro-life voices affected by the practice. On Thursday, LifeSiteNews covered a Vice News report accusing the social…Continue Reading

Pope Francis’ top ‘reform’ cardinal slams seminarians for exposing homosexuality inside seminary

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras, July 26, 2018, (LifeSiteNews) – One of the Vatican’s most influential cardinals, already suspected of looking the other way while gay relationships were conducted in his personal residence, has now admonished fifty seminarians for speaking out against their seminary’s…Continue Reading

Veteran Catholic Journalist: All Bishops Involved in Sex Abuse Scandal Must Resign

Christopher Manion, a veteran journalist and political analyst, makes the striking call that all U.S. bishops should resign who knew about the ongoing abuse crisis within the U.S. hierarchy for years and yet did not intervene. He also now reveals…Continue Reading

Catholic Relief Services is a major funder of contraception lobbyists

NOTE: The following information was provided to Catholic Relief Services in person in April, 2018.  After three months of discussion on the matter, the Lepanto Institute was told that while Lepanto is convinced that CRS should withdraw from InterAction, CRS…Continue Reading

Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter Elects New Superior General

LINCOLN, Neb. — The general chapter of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, a society of apostolic life that celebrates the extraordinary form of the Roman rite, Monday elected Father Andrzej Komorowski as its next superior general. The July 9…Continue Reading

Catholic-heavy Supreme Court moves right as the church moves left

(RNS) — With his nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace the retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, President Trump has succeeded in doing for the judicial branch what he has often failed or neglected to do in his administration: acting efficiently…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love

Cburke3

  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading

Catechism

Today . . .

Cardinal Burke: U.S. Catholic Church in ‘possibly the worst crisis that it’s ever experienced’

August 16, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Catholic Church in the U.S. is undergoing “possibly the worst crisis that it’s ever experienced” right now, Cardinal Burke said tonight of the ongoing sex abuse scandals and the laity’s distrust for bishops who play a part in it. “That has to be recognized and it has to be dealt with in a thorough manner which is faithful to the Church’s moral law and to the Church herself and…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke Addresses the Clergy Scandal

Cburke13

Thomas McKenna: Your Eminence, a new wave of clergy sexual abuse has surfaced and is indicating a widespread practice of homosexuality among clergy in dioceses and seminaries across the country. What would you say is the root cause of this corruption?   Cardinal Raymond Burke: It was clear after the studies following the 2002 sexual abuse crisis that most of the acts of abuse were in fact homosexual acts committed with adolescent young men. There…Continue Reading

Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley will not attend the World Meeting of Families

Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley, OFM Cap, Archbishop of Boston and Chair of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Children, unfortunately will not be able to participate in the World Meeting of Families to be held in Dublin, Ireland from August 21-26. Though previously scheduled to moderate a panel presentation and discussion at the World Meeting of Families, important matters pertaining to the pastoral care of St. John’s Seminary in the Archdiocese of Boston and…Continue Reading

Cardinal Wuerl named in Pennsylvania grand jury report, responds to criticism

Washington D.C., Aug 14, 2018 / 02:30 pm (CNA).- Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, D.C., and the former Bishop of Pittsburgh, has been named more than 200 times in a Pennsylvania grand jury report, released Aug. 14, after an 18-month investigation into historic allegations of sexual abuse in six Pennsylvania Catholic dioceses. The cardinal released a statement in response to the report, underscoring the gravity of the sexual abuse for the Church and the…Continue Reading

Vatican advisor: Pope ‘breaks Catholic traditions whenever he wants’

Fr Thomas Rosica said the Church is now ‘ruled by an individual rather than by… its own dictates of tradition plus Scripture’ Under Pope Francis, the Church is now “openly ruled by an individual rather than by the authority of Scripture alone or even its own dictates of tradition plus Scripture,” a Vatican advisor has said. Fr Thomas Rosica wrote that Pope Francis “breaks Catholic traditions whenever he wants” because he is

Advertisement(2)

Who Determines “Universal Values”?

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN Is it any of Canada’s business whether Saudi women have the right to drive? Well, Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland just made it her business. Repeatedly denouncing Riyadh’s arrest of women’s rights advocate Samar Badawi, Freeland has driven the two countries close to a break in diplomatic relations. “Reprehensible” said Riyadh of…Continue Reading

Refuting An Eastern Orthodox Priest’s Erroneous Comments

By JAMES LIKOUDIS An article by an Eastern Orthodox priest, Fr. David Hoestetler, published in an ecumenical magazine, The Sword (which recently ceased publishing), noted correctly with regard to Protestant misconceptions that it is indeed “scriptural and biblical to venerate Mary.” Unfortunately, the article was marred by various inaccuracies and errors. For example, he stated…Continue Reading

KCs Pledge Support For Persecuted Christians

By COURTNEY GROGAN BALTIMORE (CNA) — Knights of Columbus Supreme Knight Carl Anderson pledged the fraternal organization’s continued efforts to aid and rebuild persecuted Christian communities in the Middle East, during his August 7 address at the 2018 Knights of Columbus convention in Baltimore. Anderson also unveiled a new pilgrim icon, Our Lady Help of…Continue Reading

A Book Review… Finding A Map For Matters Of Life And Death

By DONALD DEMARCO Matters of Life & Death: A Catholic Guide to the Moral Questions of Our Time, by Gerard M. Verschuuren (Angelico Press, Brooklyn, NY, 2018, 201 pp.). Available in paperback at amazon.com for $16.95. The state of perplexity and the need for guidance has long been characteristic of human beings. Rabbi Moses Maimonides…Continue Reading

Book Review… A Classic Critique Of Postconciliar Modernism

By JAMES MONTI Dietrich von Hildebrand, The Charitable Anathema, new 2017 foreword by Raymond Cardinal Burke. $22.95; Roman Catholic Books, P.O. Box 1209, Ridgefield, CT 06877; BooksForCatholics.com. In his address at the July 21, 2018 “Humanae Vitae at 50” conference brilliantly organized by Fr. Sean Connolly at Immaculate Conception Church in Tuckahoe, N.Y., which I…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Levels Of Conscience

By DON FIER In last week’s opening exposition on the role of conscience in the Christian moral life, it was stated straightaway that “conscience” is a term that is often misunderstood and misapplied in contemporary times. Frequently equated with one’s personal opinion or position, this entreaty to subjectivism is ready justification for nearly every conceivable immoral and aberrant behavior that…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: To a recent question about whether the ordination of a secret Communist would be invalid because he did not have the right intention, we said yes, citing canon 1029 of the Code of Canon Law, which says that those seeking the priesthood must “have an integral faith, are motivated by a right intention, possess the required knowledge, and…Continue Reading

Amid Church Scandals… Fix Your Hearts On Christ

By FR. JOHN DE CELLES (Editor’s Note: LifeSiteNews on August 6 featured the following homily by Fr. John De Celles of St. Raymond of Penafort Church, Springfield, Va., the Diocese of Arlington. (Father reminded his flock: “We follow Jesus Christ, ‘the God of Jacob,’ and we follow the Holy Catholic Church which He founded.” (In May 2005, Fr. De Celles…Continue Reading

The Eucharist Is Jesus Himself

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Twentieth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR B) Readings: Prov. 9:1-6 Eph. 5:15-20 John 6:51-58 In the Gospel reading today our Lord makes several statements that we either have to believe are true or we have to run as far and as quickly from Him as we can. People who want to call themselves Christian while ignoring…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Teaching Failures At Root Of Sexual Immorality

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK “For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and men should seek instruction from his mouth, for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts. “But you have turned aside from the way; you have caused many to stumble by your instruction; you have corrupted the covenant of Levi, says the Lord of…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Clare Of Montefalco

By CAROLE BRESLIN In central Italy about one hundred miles north of Rome, lies the peaceful town looking down on the Clitunno River named Montefalco. It attracts tourists with its wildlife, wineries, and vineyards, and stunning churches. One of the most beautiful churches with its vaulted, painted ceilings, marble pillars, and inspiring altars is the Basilica of St. Clare of…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Lawrence

By CAROLE BRESLIN Valencia, claim its inhabitants, is the premier city in all of Spain. Located along Spain’s eastern Mediterranean coastline, it boasts stunning beaches, ancient history, and magnificent churches. Perhaps the most famous is the Valencian Cathedral, the Basilica of Our Lady of the Assumption, which holds a chalice which has been defended as the relic of the true…Continue Reading